Posts Tagged 'food'

the rest of daniel’s birthday week and my announcement

Is it really already Saturday???  Wow – time flies when it’s your last week of summer break!  

I hope that y’all had a great week and a fun Friday night!

Daniel and I have had a fun week celebrating his birthday (even though he says it’s “just another day” – psh).  For his birthday dinner, he requested chicken and cheese enchiladas, so that’s what I made.  I wanted to make him some type of summer dessert, so I bought some fresh peaches and made a couple of individual peach pies.  I didn’t really have a recipe, so I was surprised with how delicious they turned out to be!

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served hot with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream

The rest of the week was fairly uneventful until we got around to Friday.  I had an early morning haircut appointment (nothing new – just a trim) and then came home to tell Daniel what I had planned for us.  I had told him to not make any plans for the whole day because I had something up my sleeve!  We grabbed lunch at Panera before hitting the road for Memphis.  One of our best friends recently moved to Memphis, so we stopped and chilled with him for a couple hours.  It was SO GOOD to catch up with him!  We did a little shopping and then decided to go to the Cooper Young district to walk around.  Our first stop was Cafe Ole, and then we ended up going to Cortona for dinner.  It’s a contemporary Italian restaurant, and oh my gosh, the food was incredible.  It started with fresh bread and herb compound butter that was delicious.  I asked our server for his recommendation on dinner because I was having a very hard time deciding what to order.  I went with his suggestion and it was one of the best Italian dishes I’ve had in my entire life (seriously!).  I ordered the chicken and asparagus ravioli with walnut cream, pesto, pine nuts, and fresh shaved Reggianno cheese.  I can’t even begin to explain how scrumptious this meal was.  All of the pastas (and pizza crusts) are homemade with imported Italian flour.  Yeah.  It was to die for.  Usually I don’t like to order the same thing at a restaurant, but I would totally get the exact same thing the next time I go.  Daniel ordered the grouper special, and the fish was incredibly fresh and the sides were quite tasty as well.  I wanted to order dessert so badly, but I was already overly full (and it was worth it).  After that, we drove to a cool place in Germantown to hang out for a bit before heading back home.  It was such a fun night, and it was great to be able to spend that much time celebrating Daniel’s birthday.

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sorry for the fuzzy phone pic

Okay, now on to that announcement…

Remember when I said that I was officially training for my first half marathon?  Well, my training has been sidetracked for several reasons over the past month (vacation, the ridiculous TN heat, and some digestive issues), and there is no way I can be ready to run 13.1 miles for the Chicago half marathon in September.  SO, I decided to find another half that was a bit later.  My cousin and her husband told me about the Go Commando half in Clarksville, TN (near Fort Campbell military base).  It’s October 20, so that gives me quite a bit of extra time to train AND hopefully it will be much cooler!!!!  I went ahead and registered for it, so I am officially signed up to run my first half!!!  Since I’m going back to work next week, my schedule will be much more consistent, so I can get settled into a training routine.  I am very excited!  I really hope they have tshirts that say something like “I went commando for 13.1” hahaha.  Wouldn’t that be funny?  Anyway – I’m a little disappointed about not going to Chicago, but this will definitely be better for me.  I’ve got to get back into my long runs on the weekends. 

 

Daniel is at the duck blind drawing this morning, and this afternoon we are going to church for a bit to work on setting up for tomorrow’s service.  I hope y’all have a great Saturday!

much love,

natalie

so tell me…

What did you do for your last birthday?  

Anybody have a race coming up soon?

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June Foodie Penpal Reveal!

How is it possible that it’s already the end of June???  I have no idea where this month went, but hopefully July will go by a little more slowly (in my dreams, maybe).

Hopefully by the time you read this, I’ll either be sitting at the airport giddy as a kid at Christmas or flying through the air (still giddy as a kid at Christmas).  Sorry – I’m not trying to be obnoxious, but I’m just so stinkin’ exciting about vacation!

Enough chit chat; onto the goodie box I received from my foodie penpal for the month of June. 

Thanks to Lindsay for putting Foodie Penpals together!  She puts a TON of time and effort into this awesome food swap, and I cannot say thank you enough.

The Lean Green Bean

Ally from allypalooza sent me the coolest stuff from a local market near her home in Austin, Texas.

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praline pecans – I already opened these and they are incredible

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colossal coconut mango energy bar (this will be one of my snacks for the plane)

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salted caramel brownie

I don’t know how long this brownie will last…it will be one of those things that I say I’m going to savor and eat slowly, but then after having that first glorious taste, I’ll inhale the rest in about three bites.  This will surely be followed by pure satisfaction and regret at the same time. 🙂

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Justin’s peanut butter – always a favorite!

Thanks, Ally, for putting together such a great foodie penpal box for me!

If you are lost on the idea of foodie penpals, check out this information from Lindsay, the host of FPP.  Sign up!  It’s so much fun and a great way to connect with other people across the country!

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

If you’re interested in participating for July, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. 

You must submit your information by July 4th as pairings will be emailed on July 5th!

*If you’re from somewhere besides the US, Canada or Europe and want to participate, send me an email and I’ll see if we get enough interest this month!

What are you waiting for???  Go sign up!  I’m hoping that one day the odds will be ever in my favor (I couldn’t help it) and I will be chosen to send a box to one of my favorite readers or blogger friends!

playing catch (up)

WOW so much has happened since the last post!  

The teacher in me has missed making organizational lists, so that’s what we’ll be doing today.

1. Friday

  • hot yoga
  • yolo’s frozen yogurt with my friend Amy
  • hung out with my mom and a few friends
  • Lauren’s rehearsal dinner (Lauren is Daniel’s oldest niece – she was 11 when we started dating!  I can’t believe she’s old enough to get married now)
  • chilling with Daniel outside until almost midnight – most of our conversation was about how excited we are to go to Mexico this week!
Cancunchristmas2011

2. Saturday

  • farmers market!!! – I picked up a pint of fresh blueberries (for only five bucks – I was ecstatic!), a quart of fresh blackberries, one pound of mahi mahi, and some crabcakes
  • catching up on my google reader
  • working in the yarden – weeding, picking, tying, hoeing, sweating, etc – we stayed out there for a good three hours in the heat, but our fresh veggies are so worth it!
  • Lauren’s wedding & reception
Laurencollage

3. Sunday

  • long run (actually longEST run of my entire life) – 6.4 miles – I know that’s not a big deal for some of you, but this felt like a major breakthrough for me!
  • church
  • goodwill (to drop off donations)
  • cleaned out a closet and my workout room (it had a bunch of stuff that was here when we moved in that didn’t belong to us – let’s just say that we are no longer storing other people’s stuff 🙂 )
  • tumbling/stunt cheer practice with my awesome team (I somehow got roped into going up again – it was fun!)
  • helped Daniel pick up a new-to-us fridge for our garage for all our overflowing produce (I’m not sure how just the two of us need a second refrigerator, but I’m just going to say it’s because we buy/grow a ton of fresh produce)
  • family time!!!  I haven’t seen my cousin Jennifer in a very long time, and I got to see her, meet her husband, and meet her precious nephew
  • make salt and vinegar zucchini chips (recipe soon)
Famcollage

Needless to say, the weekend was jam-packed with a balance of hard work, fun, and family.  This time next week….you know where we’ll be

much love,

nat

so tell me…

how was YOUR weekend?

do you have an empty or full fridge right now?

Weekend Recap

Better late than never, right?  My internet issues resolved themselves today, so you can all breathe a deep sigh of relief.  😉

This past weekend can be described in one simple word: amazing!

On Friday night, I got in a sweaty workout, enjoyed Panera take-out with Daniel, and tackled another flat of strawberries, which turned into quite a comical vlog tutorial.

Saturday morning, we headed for Nashville around 8.  We arrived at our hotel by 10 a.m. and were quickly checked in.  Since it was race weekend, we didn’t want to pay the high dollar price for a room downtown.  Instead, we opted to stay a few exits away at a modest yet updated Holiday Inn.  I was actually quite impressed with the room.  After getting everything situated, we drove to nearby Opry Mills, which recently reopened after major flood damage nearly two years ago.  I found a few cute things at Forever 21, but that was about it.  Much to Daniel’s joy, I’m not a big shopper.  I think it’s mainly because I’m frugal and somewhat impatient, so shopping at a big mall doesn’t suit my personality hahaha.  Now, online shopping – that’s a different story!  In fact, I already ordered a few things online that I saw at the mall on Saturday but didn’t want to stand in line to purchase.

The food court at the mall smelled delicious, but after seeing the lines at every single place and hearing all the kids banging their tambourines (apparently some place was giving away free noise makers to all kids – genius), Daniel and I decided to drive to East Nashville and find some lunch.  We first stopped at Marche Artisan Foods, but then realized they were only serving items from their brunch menu, which looked delicious, but contained mostly breakfast items, which we weren’t really in the mood for.  We walked a little way and ended up stopping at a place called Battered and Fried (not the type of place I would normally choose, but we were so incredibly hungry by this point) and grabbed a table outside.  I was excited to find that they also had a sushi bar, and I ordered a red dragon roll and a spicy tuna roll.

Both rolls were quite tasty, but I couldn’t finish them all because I was saving room for some frozen yogurt!

Daniel and I drove around East Nashville for a bit, stopped at Sweet CeCe’s for froyo, and then headed back towards the hotel to chill before dinner.  I ended up taking a little nap before we got ready and went to a new-t0-me restaurant, The Silly Goose.  I cannot say enough good things about this cool little place, but I can say that I’ll definitely be going back!  They buy all their ingredients from local farmers, and you can tell that each dish is made to order.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t in blogger mode this night, so I didn’t take any food pictures.  I did mange to get this one of Daniel and me before our food arrived!

Have I mentioned how much I love Instagram for Android???

Daniel ordered their dinner special, which was a pork chop with pureed sweet potatoes and roasted vegetables.  I ordered the Saylor sandwich, which is grilled eggplant, roasted red pepper, avocado, basil, arugula, lemon-kalamata olive aioli on grilled ciabatta.  Instead of a side salad or roasted vegetables, I opted for one of their famous grain salads.  I chose the small portion of the Albert Prince, a cold salad with organic quinoa, sweet potatoes, black beans, avocado, roasted tomatillos, spiced pepitas, manchego, and orange vinaigrette.  Needless to say, my meal was incredible.  However, the items that truly stole the show was our appetizer, the Flower Shop.  Roasted mushrooms, black pepper mascarpone, artichokes, walnut pesto, and mustard pinot noir emulsion – yeah, I kept mmm-ing with each and every bite.

As fun as Saturday was, Sunday was my favorite part of the weekend, because I got to meet Kristen from Confessions of a (not so) Domesticated Newlywed!  She ran the Music City Half Marathon on Saturday, and she and her husband, Brandon, were sweet enough to spend a couple of hours with us at Mad Donna’s before they headed back home to Atlanta.  Kristen was incredibly sweet and adorable, and we definitely hit it off.  We are already planning another weekend get together this summer.

The food at Mad Donna’s is always great, but instead of describing each dish, I’ll let the pictures do the talking (yay for remembering to actually use my camera!!!).

Kristen’s choice – served with sweet potato fries!

Brandon’s show stopping Captain Crunch French toast

Daniel went with his favorite – chorizo

fresh crabcakes + eggs benedict = heaven

We talked for a couple of hours over our delicious foods, and then it was time to say our goodbyes, but not without another picture!  Daniel and Brandon were stoked that they were able to take pictures of us, and they really loved it when we made them retake pictures with different poses and lighting.  We’re both lucky girls to have such patient men!

Before heading back home, Daniel and I made the necessary run to Trader Joe’s, where we found all kinds of goodies!  After such a perfect weekend, I am already anxiously awaiting our next weekend trip to Nashville.

Before this post gets any wordier, I better wrap it up!  Have a great Wednesday!!!

So tell me…

Have you ever been to Nashville???

The (updated) Plan

So, last week, I talked about a new eating plan that I was trying out.  I didn’t want to go into any details until I had given it a little bit of time so that I could give a fair opinion.  Well, friends, I’m afraid I still can’t give a very fair opinion.

I changed the plan after the third day.  Basically, it was a plan designed for maximal fat loss (which is my goal), and the eating plan looked similar to this:

Egg whites, steamed broccoli, tuna, steamed broccoli, steamed chicken, steamed green beans, protein shake, chicken, lettuce, tomato, protein shake.

And that was it.  (I could sub other leafy greens for some of the vegetables, and I could sub white fish for the chicken.)

I don’t know about y’all, but I actually enjoy cooking and eating.  By the end of day one, I was dreading my meals.  By day three, the smell of broccoli was making me nauseous.  So, I had a heart to heart with myself (don’t judge).

I asked – what are my goals?  Do I want to sacrifice all pleasures of eating and cooking just so I can be a little slimmer?  Do I see myself entering a figure competition?  Do I want to be miserable for the next eight weeks?

No, no, and no.

I am all for sacrificing some of my treats (that had becoming way too common) so that I can see results, but I don’t want to be one of those girls that can’t be around others because of the terribly crabby mood that hunger brings on.  It was quite serious – I couldn’t even read all my favorite food blogs!  Tragic.

Even though I knew this plan wasn’t the best fit for me, I knew that I couldn’t just give up and go back to eating whatever I wanted.  So, I chose a new plan!

It has similar principles to the strict plan I attempted – very low carbs, no added sugars or fruits (for now), and high protein.  It’s a plan you may have heard of before…

(source)

It’s hard for me to join in a “fad” diet, but I like fact that this plan is designed by a cardiologist and it builds into a eating plan that you can literally follow forever.  I switched to SB Phase 1 (the no fruit, no starches phase – like a detox) on Thursday, and I’ll continue it this week and the next.  Phase 2 allows some healthy carbs, such as sweet potatoes and fruit (!!!) to gradually be added back in.  I’m trying to do a whole foods approach to this plan, and I’m not allowing myself to buy any of their packaged foods.

I’m just thankful I can have some more variety in my foods!  I’ll be posting some SB recipes throughout the next several weeks, and if you have any ideas, please feel free to leave them in the comments!

*In case you were wondering how I did on the first week – I lost a few pounds.  However, I’m trying to go more by my body fat percentage and how my clothes fit.  I will say that today I felt a LOT more comfortable in one pair of pants than I did two weeks ago.*

I’m heading to bed – all that sleeping in last week made getting up and working all day today extra hard!

So tell me…

Did you ever do one of the fad diets?

What are your thoughts on South Beach Diet?

No Excuses

So…I didn’t post all week.

I could say that I was busy.

I could say that I was on Spring Break (which is true).

I could say I was on some amazing tropical vacation (which is a lie).

OR I could tell you the truth.  Let’s go with that.

I had every intention of posting each day last week, especially because I was on break from school.  However, I just didn’t feel like it.  Lazy?  Perhaps.  I enjoyed the break from absolutely everything, and I definitely feel refreshed.  My idea of Spring Break used to be sitting on the beach, toes in the sand, listening to the ocean waves crash peacefully onto the shore as I watch the sun seemingly sink into the water.  Let’s be honest, that’s STILL my idea of Spring Break!  Because I work at night, that idea was not a realistic one for me.  So what did I do over my break?  So glad you asked!

Slept in until almost 8 a.m. every single morning!!!  Glorious sleep!

Read – I read a lot of health and fitness articles, as well as the adorable novel Moving Neutral by food and fashion blogger Katy Atlas.

Planned and prepped food for the plan – more on that tomorrow.

Watched more TV than I usually would – I still love Saved by the Bell just as much as I used to!

Spent some quality time with m-swag.

Took these crazy puppies on several walks to the park down the street.

Poor Clyde, he needs some new pictures.  I tried to take several, but he has a hard time holding still for more than .19 seconds!

Harley gets just a tiny bit excited when we go run outside!

Spent a great amount of time with Daniel (especially over the weekend).

Had a girls night with my mom, cousin, and friend.  I now have a French pedicure thanks to sweet cousin Anne.

Convinced Daniel to go see The Hunger Games with me.  I thought the movie was excellent, but, as always, the book was better.  I want to read the second book again haha.

Daniel said it hurts to smile, so he’ll roll with his “prison photo” face.

Enjoyed a night out with friends.

Bridal shower for my great friend Hazelnut.  Okay, her name is Hazel, but I like to pretend her real name is Hazelnut.  We also call her Wheezy, but I’m not exactly sure why…

Grocery shopping.

Real shopping (MARSHALLS will forever be my favorite store!).

Food prep for the upcoming week.

FINALLY feeling like blogging again! 🙂

Please forgive my absence – and sorry I don’t have a good excuse!  I hope that you enjoyed your week and weekend, and that your Monday goes exceptionally well!

So tell me…

What did you last week and this weekend???  Catch me up!

Raspberry Vanilla Oatmeal

One of my favorite things about Saturdays is the fact that I can take my sweet time to make a delicious breakfast that satisfies whatever it is that I’m craving.  I usually try to sleep in until at least 7:30 or 8 on Saturdays, but today I got up around 6:45.  Daniel had to take a HAZMAT exam for the fire department this morning, so I wanted to get up early enough to cook him a filling breakfast.  If you miss even one question or step on this exam, you fail, so I knew he was probably a little stressed.  Figuring that serving him breakfast would be a little act of encouragement, I whipped up two scrambled eggs with laughing cow cheese and a biscuit with homemade strawberry jam.  As the eggs were cooking, I finished off the crumbs from my bag of Love Grown raisin almond crunch granola.

*As I was typing that, Daniel called and said he passed!!!  YAY!!!!

After he left for the test, I popped a cinnamon roll coffee k-cup into the Keurig and mixed it with a little Truvia and almond coconut milk.  That was enjoyed while catching up on blog reading and emails, but my stomach soon started to let me know it was used to a filling breakfast, and that the coffee and granola crumbs were NOT cutting it.

I walked into the pantry and stared, and stared, and stared.  Nothing was jumping out at me, so I grabbed the one item that never fails to satisfy me – OATS, of course!  Today seemed like a good day to add cinnamon raisin peanut butter and some banana, but then once I had the oats cooking up in unsweetened vanilla almond milk, I decided that I was in the mood for something with lighter flavors.  The pb and banana were put away, and the vanilla Sun Warrior protein powder and fresh raspberries were invited to join the oatmeal party. Best. Decision. Ever.

Into the mason jar mix went:

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/2 cup water

1/2 scoop vanilla Sun Warrior

1/2 tsp Mexican vanilla

pinch of salt

dash of cinnamon

1 tbsp chia seeds (mixed with 3 tbsp water, stirred frequently until gel forms) – added about 5 minutes before oats finished completely

1/4 cup (I think) fresh raspberries – mashed with a fork with a tiny amount of maple syrup – mixed in after cooking

 

You better believe I ate every single bite!

See – I told you. Every single bite!

I’m finally going to get ready and enjoy the rest of the day!  The new gym where I’m teaching is having the grand opening this afternoon, but other than that, it’s just me, Daniel, and abundant sunshine! 🙂

What’s your favorite Saturday breakfast?

 


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